These kids. My heart. I am sure every parent does this, but honestly, I just look at them and feel my it swell and burst. Sometimes there are actual tears involved. They are good kids. They are sometimes naughty kids. But they are our kids. It's unreal and so real all at once. We are so lucky. I was going to do both kid's updates in one post, but after writing Cece's, I think it's better to break them up. They each deserve their own. Here's Cece's. Sully's is coming. As soon as I can get my act together. Which means, maybe by the time he turns three. Ha.
A Letter to my Three (and almost a half) Year Old:
Cecelia, my dear December baby, you are now 3 years and 4 months old. A big girl! Three is also your favorite number right now (incidentally, it's always been my favorite number, too). You are independent. Sassy. Spirited.
When you're in your space though, man, do you talk. Lately, your stories are animated with hand gestures and facial expressions. You say the funniest things at the most random moments. And, you're a bit bossy, my dear, which, most of the time, I actually love. Because Mommy's bossy, too. Don't let anyone tell you it's not lady-like. Strong, assertive women run this world. There are times tough that your sass and my sass collide and at that point, everyone better watch out. These conflicts at 3 are probably nothing compared to what's coming by 13. We are alike, you and me. A problem and a gift all at once.
As 3 year-olds tend to be, you are experimenting with your new found independence and testing as many boundaries as possible. These days you prefer to get yourself dressed and undressed, though usually you still need help with your shirts and zippers. You like to pick out your own clothes and your own shoes but occasionally you'll let it slide if I try to make those decisions for you. You love dresses and more recently, princess dresses, which to you, signify your "mom" status. In your make believe world, all moms wear princess dresses. I honestly have no idea where this comes from since last I check I have exactly zero princess dresses in my own closet. There have been a number of times when you dress up, twirl and spin and ask me if you "look beautiful." After cringing internally a little, I reply that you always are beautiful, inside and out, but just as important, you are brilliant. There was one day, several months ago, when we were driving in the car and you blurted out, "mommy, boys are smarter than girls." I just about died. We pulled off the road and straightened that one out right away, didn't we?
You had the day time potty training down. You potty trained right after you turned 2.5 and it sort of amazes me how much older you seem without diapers. You usually do the whole routine by yourself but often I have to help you with number two and remind you a few times to flush and wash your hands. We haven't mastered (or honestly attempted) night time training yet so you're still in a pull up, but we'll cross that bridge when we are all ready, maybe once you fall into a consistent sleep pattern...soon, please?!
That brings me to sleep. This never has been your strongest skill, has it? Lately, you have been a champion at drawing out bedtime. Your brother goes to bed at 7:30 PM on the dot every night. Easy. Then the work really begins. We get into jammies, read books or watch one episode of your favorite TV show while snacking on peanut butter and crackers and water. Around 8 PM we go downstairs and use the potty and brush teeth. We then read more books in your room. Daddy tucks you in and then mommy tells you stories. We have about a half dozen or so random stories that I have made up and we go around and around, telling the same silly stories over and over. I always give you two stories a night but you usually get away with three before I shut it down. The last thing we do is listen to classical piano music together as you drift off to sleep. Then, typically during some very early morning hour, you wake up and tip toe up to our bedroom and help yourself into our bed. Some nights I let you stay with us for a little bit before eventually returning you to your nest. Other nights I take you back to bed and upon your insistent, sleepy requests, I tell you one more story. It may not be the best routine and it certainly does take a long time and a lot of patience, but we've tried many variations over the past few months and few others have resulted in anything but tears, sometimes from us both. So, this will do for now. Fingers crossed you grow out of it soon and discover the pure joy of a full night of sleep. Editorial Note: In the time since I started this post and finished it about 5 weeks later, things have changed. For the better. I didn't want to delete the section above so that I can read it later and remember with no amount of fondness how challenging you were at this stage, so instead, I'm adding this addendum. Cece - you are sleeping! Do you want to know how we managed to get you there? Parenting truth here (perhaps not for you squeamish helicopter types but alas)...we locked you in your room. Yup. At our wits end and out of ideas, we tried putting one of the child proof door knob thingys on the inside of your door and just went for it. You cried the first night for about 5 minutes but eventually figured things out. You have an alarm clock that turns colors when it's time to get up and then you shout to us (we can see and hear you through your monitor) and we come get you in the morning. It's only been about a week but everyone is sleeping much better, hurray! We knew you could do it. We just had to stop babying you.
You love to have a task and are genuinely helpful around the house. You particularly love cleaning. If I leave a package of baby wipes within reach, you will dismember it and "clean" everything in sight. You also love to use your mini Dyson whenever I'm vacuuming. You like to help me make dinner and wash dishes and do NOT like it when I try to help you. This often results in a very wet situation all around. You also like to help me change Sully's diaper and give him a bath (although, I think you secretly just like dumping water on his head).
Lately, "potty talk" has become a thing. Most of it is coming from the big kids at school, but it's gotten a bit out of control lately. If I have to hear the word "pooty" again... I mean, what does that even mean, really? It sounds gross.You also really get a kick out of farts. We have you well trained to excuse yourself when it happens, but you also find farts very entertaining, especially when it comes from Daddy. Oy!
Other things you love? Of course, Doggie. He's been with you since the beginning and there isn't a day or hour really that goes by where he isn't with you. And forget about sleeping without him. You basically use him as a pillow. You literally watch the timer on the washing machine whenever he needs a "bath." Lately, you have really taken a turn away from the tomboy world and right into princess territory. Mostly thanks to hand me down dress up clothes from your cousins and influence from school friends. Last week we let you watch Frozen. We certainly got our money's worth because we watched it over and over and over. So much that I finally bought a different movie, The Little Mermaid. And we've watched that one over and over and over. Your dad is going a bit crazy but hopefully he'll survive. Hopefully, we'll all survive.
You are also sometimes into your baby doll. You really like to push her in her stroller whenever we go for walks. Speaking of exercise, you are really into it. You requested your own 1 lb hand weights and enjoy doing yoga poses like downward dog or tree pose. And you REALLY love to run. Ahhh, my heart. You cry and cry when you see me getting ready to go out for a solo run and I have to bribe you with treats and promise to take you for a run when I return in order to get out of the house. I can't wait for you to experience your first road race this spring. So happy we have something we can do like that together!
You really love your brother and take good care of him. Often, if he's climbing on something or eating crayons, you come running to me telling me, "Sully's getting into trouble." I can tell you mean it in the best way (as in, you aren't being a tattle tale, but rather you are looking out for him). You are also always looking for him if he's not around, concerned about where he is and what he's up to. You two can get pretty rowdy though at some points. You like to wrestle and play rough. Sully is really a good sport about it but you should watch your back, he will outweigh you very, very soon.
Preschool seems to be going well. You are really coming into your own now. As for learning milestones, I think you are probably right on track for age three. You can recognize some of the alphabet (especially all Cs!), some numbers, and you'll draw circles all day long. Your stick figures are improving, too. You can spell out your entire name C-E-C-E-L-I-A and write Cece pretty well. When you want to you can count to 20. You love books and reading. You even "read" by yourself now and can make up the best stories based on the illustrations.You also are really into playing "teacher" and instructing your class to sit in front of you while you perch on a chair and read to the students.
You aren't a huge eater in that you prefer to graze all day and can't seem to chow a big meal in a sitting. You are also very picky. You like what you like and you like consistency. If you had your way you would eat a hot dog for every meal. Yuck. You don't totally dislike vegetables though, so I'll take it. And of course, you love, LOVE any sweet or treat you can get your hands on. I think lollipops are your favorite food group. You also pick your nose.
Tantrums. Even though they certainly didn't go away when you turned 3, they also aren't unbearable, either. It's true what they say, the nature of tantrums does seem to change with age. There are less body parts involved (arms and legs flailing) but they also seem to be less predictable and can be turned on or off like a light switch. Usually the meltdown comes after you have been told "no" or when you are frustrated about something you can't quite do on your own. There can be a lot of whining, which I find harder to deal with than a full blown tantrum which for the most part, we typically just ignore and they dissipate quickly. But the whining can be rough. We are working on it.
Cecelia, my love, my girl, you are our world. A bright shining light that can brighten anyone's day. We love you so, so much and are learning so much from you. Our adventures continue. xo, Mommy